Last month, Amy Kadrie (recycling coordinator) and Pat Beaumont (director of Support Operations) traveled to New York City to the EPA’s Region 2 headquarters to receive a WasteWise Gold Achievement Award. The Gold Achievement honors organizations for outstanding success in a specific focus area. The University won this award for its efforts in public education and outreach. From reading this blog you have probably noticed that the University puts a lot of effort into creating a green culture while promoting individual participation. This is accomplished through articles, social media tools, recycling events, and much more. We were very honored to be recognized for our efforts. More details about why we won this award are included at: http://blogs.rochester.edu/thegreendandelion/2011/10/gone-green-the-u-of-r-wins-epa-award/.
It was wonderful to be present at the ceremony among dozens of other award recipients who were recognized for all kinds of achievements ranging from the ReClam the Bay program in Toms River, NJ, to a city-wide ban on plastic shopping bags in Rye, NY. Additionally, the mayor of Camden, NJ, spoke of how she is painting her city green despite economic challenges. Inspiration surrounded us!
On a more somber note, while in the city Pat and I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial and witness the construction of the new World Trade Center buildings. As I looked through the sea of hundreds of names, the feeling of what our country lost was overwhelming. These were our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, neighbors, friends, and even some unborn children in the wombs of their mothers, gone forever.
But as a result of the terrible tragedy that our country faced over a decade ago, many people were brought together. A resounding symbol of this to me was the Survivor Tree. The callery pear tree endured severe damage during the attack with burned branches, snapped roots and a blackened trunk . But it was nurtured, brought back to health, and then returned to its home at the memorial site in 2010. Just as our own hardships make us all who we are, nature has endured some of the greatest hardships of all which have become our planet’s history.
For many reasons, this day was a great reminder of why we do what we do. Happy Memorial Day everyone! Remember to honor our planet and everything on it that means something to you.